“Whitewater” – Colin Padbury
It began with the syllabus, a notebook page of ideas and the intrinsic motivation to make an impact. Service Learning was my first experience creating a three credit independent study designed specifically to satisfy my vision. My sixty hour service component consisted of co-teaching a white water kayaking class, guiding a two day white water rafting trip on the East Fork of the Carson River and volunteering as a climbing instructor with the local after school program. I drew inspiration from the film I researched titled Oil &Water. The film tells the story of pro kayakers Seth Warren and Tyler Bradt on the very first journey on the Pan-American Highway fueled entirely by recycled vegetable oil. Following their passion, they showed the world what was possible and educated thousands along the way. Looking at this example made me realize the potential of combining what I love to do with service projects in the community.
This opportunity then allowed me to design and teach a lesson plan for a white water kayaking class. Slicing a hole in the side of our raft on the Carson River is where a mistake became an experience and a valuable life lesson when we MacGyvered a band-aid made of duct tape to stay afloat. This class also gave me the chance to give back to the community by mentoring local elementary grade students learning rock climbing. And working part time at a climbing gym propelled me to assess the risk management involved and create the “climbing bible” to ensure quality maintenance of the wall. The amazing thing about outdoor adventure education is its essence of life long learning. My final product has yielded me results that almost two years later are still lessons I refer back to when teaching and sharing my passion with my students. Create, embark, experience, enjoy and repeat.